There are some facts about myself that I am willing to share with almost anyone. These are not life changing or foundational facts. They are simple, little tidbits that help build relationships with others. Sometimes, I use such facts as an ice breaker with new people. Sometimes, I use them as a defense mechanism and comfort level to guide a discussion. Sometimes, I like to simply share with no alternate motive.
For example, I will tell nearly anyone I am from Russia. It provides an open door for some fun camaraderie. Also, I will tell nearly anyone I love coffee. Part of me always hopes to find a fellow fanatic. But, most of all, I will tell nearly anyone I love dogs and deeply desire to own a dog again one day.
I once had a teacup peach colored poodle named Leo, who weighed a mere four pounds. He looked like an adorable, fluffy lion, thus why I named him Leo. I never really knew how much I would love owning a dog until I got him.
One day after school, my older sister came in carrying Leo. My mom knew a janitor at the school who raised poodle puppies. My mom said, “Here, he is yours.” I was shocked, simply because this was not a desire of my heart at the time.
Sure enough, within the evening we got him, I fell in love with the fur ball. Moments after we brought him home, he climbed up a fence and ran after me as I went to feed the horses. In that moment, I knew he would be my best friend.
I didn’t know Jesus when I lived at home, so Leo was my closest and greatest companion. I sure loved playing catch with him. I could let him out and let him run around and play for a little bit with no worries. He always knew to run back to me when I called his name. He was such an obedient and loyal companion.
He often made me feel safe and protected. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in the country. It could get pretty scary at night. It was such a comfort to know if one little sound was out of place, he was there for me. It was in those moments the four-pound little guy fittingly growled liked a lion.
I got to call him my best friend for six years. Unfortunately, I had to give him away when I moved out for college. It was one of the hardest and saddest days of my life. When I think back to that day, I can still see him smiling at me trying to comfort me.
I have not had a dog since Leo. And I so desperately yearn to. Life without a dog is never the same after owning one. Some days, it nearly breaks my heart and brings me to tears at the thought of wanting a dog. I am sure some people find that funny or weird. But, all I can say is, only those who have ever had a dog or really any pet for that matter, will understand. When I let Leo go, I lost a part of myself.
When I look at my life with him, I can honestly say God used Leo to mold me into the caring person I am today, and I didn’t even know it at the time. Having Leo taught me what it was it was like to selflessly take care of someone else. Leo taught me there is so much more to life than myself.
One day, my husband and I will get a dog. I look forward to that day dearly. We do not know what breed yet, but we do know we will go to a shelter and give a lonely dog a loving home. We also know the dog will be small and adorable. For now, I must learn to find my comfort and joy in Christ who sustains me always, regardless of whether or not I have a pet.